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Friday, October 6, 2017

State puts $4 million toward Lake George wastewater treatment plant

Million Dollar Beach on Lake George. Photo by Tracy Ormsbee

The Village of Lake George on Thursday received a $4,273,923 grant from the state to rebuild its wastewater-treatment plant, a $17 million project.

The Lake George grant is the largest of the $44 million in grants announced by Gov. Andrew Cuomo to support 24 essential drinking water- and wastewater-infrastructure projects. The grants are funded through New York’s Water Infrastructure Improvement Act, as well as the new Intermunicipal Water Infrastructure Grants Program.

The Lake George Village wastewater plant, designed for a small community, has been operating since 1939. Concerns about seepage from the plant were first raised in the 1970s. The 2015 report on the wastewater-treatment study concluded the facility is failing and is contributing high levels of chloride and nitrate to West Brook.

The village had already borrowed $1 million to begin designing a new plant, said Mayor Robert Blais. This grant will allow the village to reduce its borrowing.

“It’s certainly a huge step forward. We were disappointed the last couple years when we made applications and didn’t receive anything,” he said. “We’re grateful the governor recognized the importance of Lake George and the village being able to construct an entirely new waste-treatment plant.”

Afterall, Blais added, Lake George is “an economic engine for the entire state,” bringing in visitors from around the country and world.

“We want them to be able to drink clean water and be able to recreate in a clean and safe environment.”

“This is great to hear,” said Lake George Waterkeeper Chris Navitsky, who with the Fund for Lake George conducted an 18-month study in 2014-15 looking at the connection between the Village of Lake George wastewater-treatment plant and West Brook, which flows into Lake George. The study’s report also pointed out the problem has been going on some 45 years.

“We advocated for the replacement of the plant,” Navitsky said.

Walter Lender, executive director of the Lake George Association, said there are critical upgrades needed for the village wastewater plant, something that’s been recognized for a long time. This money will allow for planning, engineering and putting money together for the actual project.

The protection of the water quality is all of our number one priority up here,” Lender said. “It’s an important resource not just for us in the watershed but for all of New York State.”

The Town of Hague also received one of the state grants for $98,563.

“The money will allow them to do an upgrade as well,” Blais said. “That’s good news for all of Lake George.”

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